Banksy's work was stolen in Toronto, hardly the first art theft in Canada, and as usual, it is an easy thing to steal art in Canada because security is non-existent because it is not seen as a problem. The University of Toronto had two serious thefts exactly eleven years apart -- and those eagle-eyed knuckleheads didn't notice the missing paintings for months.
Which is patently ignorant. Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal are close enough to US hubs of art crimes. Art is an underground currency for millionaires and billionaires who do some shady business and need something of value to pay certain elements under the table.
I had repeatedly tried to pitch stories about this serious issue to various Canadian media outlets over the years as I had a huge dossier of various cases. Every single one haughtily turned me down, including the now defunct Saturday Night magazine, whose editor at the time accused me of "exaggerating" -- even though I had listed real-life cases that had happened here. I had sources, too, but even Canadian-based art magazines took a pass, even though it was crucial for museums and small art galleries and centres to know that to take precautions (not to display stolen art, for instance) was an extremely expensive proposition.
I did give a speech on the topic at an art centre. I remember the reaction of one gallery employee when I said how much a single search in a stolen art database cost.
Interpol has its own database on stolen art. It is a serious global problem.
But Canadian editors didn't like the narrative that bad things like that happened here.
The 2001 movie The Score was an art heist movie set in Montreal -- not even that hook was enough for editors back then to cover the issue -- from stolen works, vandalism, to forgeries -- there was no shortage of real-life art crimes, but no takers.
Now add Banksy's Trolly Hunters has been thrown at that pile.
Thank Canadian editors for keeping you in the dark about the laundering of money through art -- because they think their fellow Canadians are just too delicate to be able to face unpleasant truths.
And considering that the Russian mafia uses art to launder their ill-gotten gains, I am surprised those jittery Canadian editors haven't had the ovaries to cover it...